“If something is there, you can only see it with your eyes open, but if it isn’t there, you can see it just as well with your eyes closed. That’s why imaginary things are often easier to see than real ones.”
-Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
-J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Brian Jacques. Jane Austen. J.R.R. Tolkein. Roald Dahl. C.S. Lewis. Alistair MacLean. Louis L’Amour. Rainbow Rowell.
That’s my short list of authors who gave me that jolt of pure, unadulterated joy that obliterates the rest of the world, makes you feel you’ve found a spiritual/mental soulmate, and makes you want to track them down and knock down their door or call them up and have long conversations about everything and nothing and find out their opinion about the world and politics in that one corner of the world and how they like their tea.
I started my first Jo Nesbø, who is probably the greatest Nordic crime fiction writer alive now that Mankkell is no longer writing and Stieg Larsson is dead. Thus far it is very broody and suffused with a tone of depression that matches what the main character Harry Hole is experiencing, but the prose is slowly drawing me in, particularly this gem.
“A young woman in the front row stood up unbidden, but without offering a smile. She was very attractive. Attractive without trying, thought Harry. Thin, almost wispy hair hung lifelessly down both sides of her face, which was finely chiseled and pale and wore the same serious, weary features Harry had seen on other stunning women who had become so used to being observed that they had stopped liking or disliking it. Katrine Bratt was dressed in a blue suit that underlined her feminity, but the thick black tights below the hem of her skirt and her practical winter boots invalidated any possible suspicions that she was playing it. She let her eyes run over the gathering, as if she had risen to see them and not vice versa.”
–The Snowman, Jo Nesbø
Bring on the chills.